“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”
I always found my anxiety was worst when I was feeling stressed.
When there was so much going on in my day I felt like I was struggling to keep on top of everything.
General anxiety is the result of the accumulation of all your thoughts, worries and emotions running constantly through your mind.
The brain simply struggles to cope being at full tilt all the time.
It needs a break, it needs a rest, otherwise it’s no wonder you start to feel mentally and physically fatigued.
The stress this puts upon your mind stops it functioning as it should, this then leads to the anxiety symptoms you are all too familiar with.
The problem is, having a busy day with lots to do and things to worry about is for most people just a normal day.
The difference is, people without anxiety do not see everything as such a stress.
Now I know I talk about getting on with your day despite the way you feel, that you need to show your anxiety no care and to stop giving it the power it needs to exist.
However, today I’m going to be talking about doing the very opposite, and there is good reason for this.
Taking a day off from anxiety
It is possible to take a complete day off from your anxiety.
To remove every stress and worry in your life from the time you wake to the time you fall asleep again.
To do this you’re going to be removing yourself completely from the world around you.
I call it the ultimate day of avoidance, but you should only ever do it once.
I will be explaining exactly how you can do this a little later, but first we need to look at why you would do this.
- It will give your mind the break it so desperately needs.
- It will show you that there is nothing physically wrong with your brain – physical conditions cannot just switch on and off like problems of the mind.
- It will show you that it is only because you interpret so much of the world around you as a threat and as a stress that you feel the way you do.
- It will show you in the long run that avoidance is not the answer – you cannot remove yourself completely from the world everyday.
- It will allow you to think more clearly about where you are, where you are heading and where you want to be.
What you are doing (just for one day only) is doing exactly the opposite of what you need to do.
Sounds crazy right?
But it is what it will teach you about your anxiety that is so important.
Knowledge is great, but sometimes to really understand you have to do it.
This exercise will help to show you a lot about how your anxiety works.
How to take a day off from anxiety
As I have already mentioned, what you will be doing here is removing yourself from the world.
To do that you will need to prepare for the day in advance and follow a few rules.
Preparation for the day:
- Plan which day – I recommend you choose a weekday when the majority of your friends and family will be at work or busy. Choose a day when you know you have absolutely nothing you need to do and are unlikely to have anyone come and visit you. You may need to tell some friends/family in advance, or ask them to look after any children you may have.
- Food and drink – make sure you have enough food and drink in house for the entire day.
- Unplug the phone – if you have a landline make sure you unplug it the night before, you may keep a mobile nearby if you need to, but put it on silent and away somewhere out of sight.
- Entertainment – Make sure you have enough things to do and keep you entertained for the day, it can be whatever you enjoy doing. Books, puzzles, movies, box sets, games, home crafts etc.
- Understand the aim of the day – the aim of the day is not to not feel anxious, the aim of the day is to rest your body and mind. To only do things you enjoy and which do not cause you any stress whatsoever.
- Understand the philosophy for the day – the philosophy of the day is that nothing matters. There is nothing you can do today which is going to affect the future, there is nothing important to do, everything can wait until tomorrow. For the whole day the world is on hold and you’re going to enjoy that feeling.
Rules for the day:
- There is nothing you have to do, if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it.
- Do not care how you look or feel, it doesn’t matter.
- Do not read, listen or talk to anyone about anxiety, panic attacks, mental health etc
- Do not set an alarm clock, have a lie in and get up when you want.
- Eat whatever and whenever, but do not eat too much sugary foods or over eat.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid all stimulants – caffeine, alcohol, medication, drugs etc (if you smoke or vape you can do so)
- Do not talk to anyone unless you absolutely have to – today is just about you. If you do have to speak to someone it must be someone you feel very calm and relaxed with and not about anything urgent or important.
- Stay off all social media, news websites, news channels etc. You are cut off from the world and do not need to know or care what is going on. Watch as much mind numbing pointless TV as you like, even better if it makes you laugh too. Perhaps time to dig out the Friends box set.
- Enjoy being happy and relaxed, knowing this day is all about you – you need a good rest.
What you are doing here is removing every single outside stress for the day, avoiding anything which makes you anxious.
Now you might still have a few anxious thoughts and feelings, but if you have understood the aim and philosophy from above and followed all the rules then these should be very minimal, if at all.
If you do feel anxious, just remind yourself it cannot hurt you, it’s just your mind playing tricks. Instead of focusing on it, get on with doing something you like to do, being absorbed by a great film usually does the trick.
What you will find
You will find that you come to understand your anxiety better.
You’ll learn that it is your thoughts and emotions and the stresses they create which are causing you to feel the way you do.
It will help you to believe your brain is physically fine, if it wasn’t you’d feel bad every moment of every day.
You’ll begin to understand that to feel better you must change your thinking and you must carry on with life so that you stop seeing everything as a threat.
But you may also experience something else too.
Let me explain.
When I did this it felt really good.
I felt calm and relaxed for the whole day and I just had a big smile on my face because I knew there was nothing important I needed to do.
However, the next day I started to think over the day before.
I knew as much as I had enjoyed it, I’d hate it if I had to do it every day for good. I liked a challenge, something to wake up for in the morning, something to get me going and to work towards.
I also realised that for too long my anxiety had been holding me back.
I wasn’t really living. I was just about doing enough to get by, and I was trapped by my anxiety which was preventing me doing so many things.
It also made me realise how much I would regret it if I allowed it to win.
It helped me see that it was only my thoughts and feelings which affected how I felt, there was nothing actually wrong with me.
I had just become scared of the world and everything around me.
It helped give me that thirst for life again.
Now it’s your turn
So now you’ve read this, don’t just consign it to the depths of your internet history folder, actually do it.
Take a day off from your anxiety and see what it can do for you.
Enjoy feeling calm, relaxed and in control.
The following day take a moment to think through how you felt and use it to help you evaluate where your are with your anxiety.
I expect just like I did, you will feel that you’re not really living, your anxiety means you are just about getting by.
Is this how you want it to be?
I don’t believe for a second that it is.
Everyone wants more, and they certainly don’t want to look back knowing their life was lost to their anxiety.
Taking the day off from anxiety is a great technique, it not only helps you understand your anxiety more, but also helps you think clearly about the future and what you want from life.
Just try it for a day, it would be great to hear how you get on, let me know in the comments below.
Like this article?
Sign up to receive new posts directly to your inbox for FREE. Just enter your email below and click SUBMIT. We will never share your email – EVER!